Deciding if therapy is right for you, and which therapy is right for you?
If you are new to the counseling and therapy world there are some things to know so that you can be as successful as possible during the process, and things that can help you make the decision of whether or not to begin services.
If you are reading this to find out if you have the symptoms that people often go to therapy for, perhaps you should look into something else. Just keep in mind that people go to therapy for MANY different reasons, and you do not need to have symptoms that are intensely affecting your functioning just to begin therapy. Here is a great website for that information.
Many people think that therapy is sitting in an office on a couch talking about your childhood problems, and maybe even the dreams you had and getting advice on what to do about different situations you are dealing with. This is like saying that every chef in the world cooks French cuisine; it is simply not the case. This is only one type of therapy and generally not for everyone( this is referred to as psychoanalytic). Just like there are so many different kinds of chefs (from elegant European cuisine, to Bob’s Burger House) there are many different types of therapists. So if you have been to therapy before and did not connect well with that person don’t fret! It does not mean that you will not connect well with someone else, or maybe a different type of therapy.
One of the main types of therapy provided on individual levels, in hospitals, partial programs, outpatient programs, and group homes includes one called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). This is becoming more and more popular because therapists have the flexibility to work with you from different “angles.” For example, maybe you are having trouble making friends because you often tell yourself you do not have much to offer them. The therapist can work with you to reframe your thoughts, which can then increase your positive emotions towards yourself, which can then lead to more outgoing behaviors and thus making more friends. From another angle, they might start with the behaviors- maybe you avoid talking to people so the therapist works with you to come out of your shell so to speak. Once you start speaking with people at school and work and you have positive experiences, your feelings about your worth might change your thinking around what you have to offer.
While CBT and it’s similar extention of DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy) are the most commonly practiced there are MANY other types of “frameworks” and “theories” that therapists use. Some other common therapy types include:
- Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)
- Behavioural therapy
- Cognitive analytic therapy (CAT)
- Cognitive therapy
- Jungian therapy
- Psychoanalytic therapy
- Psychodynamic therapy
- Adlerian therapy
- Existential therapy
- Gestalt therapy
- Human Givens psychotherapy
- Person-centred therapy (also known as “client-centred” counselling)
- Reality therapy
- Solution-focused brief therapy
- Transactional analysis
- Transpersonal psychology
- Art therapy/Art psychotherapy
- Drama therapy
- Music therapy
- Equine assisted therapy
- Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR)
- Family/Systemic therapy
- Bowenian, Contextual, Structural, Solution-Focused, Multicultural, Narrative, Strategic, Experiential, Emotion-focused, Feminist, Cognitive-behavioral family therapy, Brief therapy, play therapy, Gottman method, and more… For more information on the major types click here.
- Group therapy
- Interpersonal therapy
- Play therapy
- Psychosexual therapy
If you would like more information on any of the therapies listed please click here to be redirected. One other thing to know is that many therapists are becoming more eclectic, and use whichever therapy form they feel would be best for the client. Even more use a specific framework to go off of, then integrate techniques from the other theories to tailor it specifically to your needs.
No matter what your needs are therapy can be right for you if you are willing to put in the work, and want something to change in your life (it can be almost anything- just keep in mind that we are not wizards).
Maybe you want a therapist who helps you work through your unconscious thoughts (psychodynamic), maybe you want one who helps you find your strengths (person-centered), or maybe you just just have too much stress in your life and you need someone to help you go through ways of handling it (Mindfulness and DBT). Perhaps you recognize that you are not a “problem” but your whole family thinks you are and they are all having difficulties, fighting, arguing, or not talking at all- family therapy might be for you. Sexual issues, managing being bullied, just feeling sad most of the time, even feeling happy and stress-free but feeling like something is missing in life can all be reasons to choose to begin/continue therapy.
As I stated at the beginning, there are so many reasons to go to therapy, and determining if it is right for you, and what types of therapy is right for you can lead to life changing transformations.
–Tiffany Devoy, MA, LPC, AMFT